The Pride to perform in 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade


Gracie Terrall and Jordan Rusche

The Pride of the Dakotas will be one of nine bands to perform in the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, according to an announcement made today by band staff, university officials and others.

Pride members in attendance were surprised and excited at the announcement, as the news was kept secret up until the event.

“This invitation was made possible because of you: your choice to be a member of The Pride, your hard work, your commitment, your spirit,” Kevin Kessler, director of The Pride, said during the announcement. “That’s why we’re going to march in New York on the world’s biggest stage.”

Wesley Whatley, creative producer for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, made the announcement via livestream from the Macy’s Parade Studio in New Jersey.

“We hope that this invitation gets you excited, we hope that you are as proud as we are of the accomplishment, not only of this invitation, but of the great work that you do each and every fall,” Whatley said.

In addition to announcing The Pride’s role in the upcoming parade, Whatley also announced that Macy’s would be donating $10,000 to kick off the band’s fundraising campaign.

“I’ve gone on trips before with my high school band and I know that fundraising is a big part of that, so I’m super excited to see what we do for that,” Rebecca Ady, a freshman alto saxophone player, said. 

Unfortunately, the news also means current juniors and seniors will not be able to perform in the parade as they will have graduated; however, Kessler acknowledged their role in getting the band to this point.

“This selection is not possible without you,” Kessler said. “The video we sent in was from 2019, so it’s your efforts that have brought us here to this point. You should take great pride in the fact that you got us here.”

President Barry Dunn congratulated Pride members and shared his own pride over their accomplishments and hard work.

“I’m not big on the (phrase) ‘that people deserve something,’ I think most of the time in life you earn it,” Dunn said. “Looking back over this last year, I’m sure it’s hard for you to think that you earned this honor of marching in the great parade, but I will tell you that you deserve it.”

David Reynolds, director of the School of Performing Arts, also shared his congratulations.

“You’re in for a wonderful ride in all sorts of ways, and I cannot wait to see you all march down that street at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” he said.

Pride members who will be able to perform in 2022 shared their excitement over the news, especially after the challenges of the last year.

“It’s been a hard year trying to get performances in and being able to show how good our band is to people who are not in the band and around the university and the community,” Ady said. “It’s gonna be really awesome to be able to do that on a national stage.”

Sophomore tenor drums player Benjamin Leek thinks the performance will be an opportunity to highlight South Dakota State University’s talent to a global audience.

“There are like three and a half million people that watch it live, and then there are the hundreds of millions of people watching around the world, and we’re going to be representing the whole state of South Dakota and more specifically, SDSU,” he said. “I think that will be a total blast.”

In the past, The Pride has performed at various events and special occasions, including two Tournament of Roses parades, two presidential inaugural parades, for professional sports franchises and even for the king and queen of England.

“Tonight, we write the introduction to the next great chapter in the band’s history,” Kessler said.

More details will be announced in the coming months.